For the first Dalat News article each year, I like to focus on “What’s New.” The first week of school is always an exciting one as the campus finally comes alive with students and activity. All the work that has been done in preparation of the new year starts to pay off as classes begin meeting and students get back to their studies. It’s fun to see our new students learning all about what makes Dalat a special and unique school, and our new staff beginning to understand why we are so proud of our students.
In North America, an expression that is used to say “hello,” or greet someone you know, is to ask the question, “What’s New?” So, at the beginning of each school year, that is a good question to answer in the first director’s message.
So what is new at Dalat this year? Quite a bit actually, as you will see in the list below.
New Students: Our enrolment for this year currently stands at 647 students from 24 different countries with 119 students being new to Dalat.
New Staff: This year we have 8 new full-time staff and 1 part-time staff joining Dalat: Adam Daniels – MS Science Teacher, Tarin Daniels – MS Language Arts Teacher, Grace Oh – Kindergarten Teacher, Dave Yost – MS Computer/Bible Teacher, Tammi Yost – Special Services Teacher, Steve Hutchcraft – MS Principal, Dana Hutchcraft part time Child Safety/MS Counseling, Terry Franceschi – MS Social Studies Teacher, Cheryl Franceschi– Development Associate, and Andrew McClary – Impact Trips Coordinator & HS Bible Teacher.
The Lighthouse: The Lighthouse is the name of our new residence life building situated next to the gym and overlooking the ocean. The second of three new buildings, “The Lighthouse” provides a new home for our three dorms, the dorm assistant, and the school nurse. The completion of “The Lighthouse” makes it possible for our dorms to remain on campus and created the space needed for us to build our new high school, administration, and auditorium building (The Harbor).
New Facilities: Besides the “The Lighthouse” the school has a few other “new” facilities which were created over the summer. The old Jackson dorm has been “renovated” and turned into two new MS classrooms and is the location of our school nurse for this year.
New Theme: Our theme for this year as a school is “It’s Still Not About Me” and as the year goes on, this theme will be fleshed out in many different ways. Our “Focus ESLR” (Expected School Wide Learning Result) is God Seeker.
New Resources: Dalat has invested this year in a lot of new resources for the campus. In the MS we have increased our 1:1 program and have iPads available for all 7th graders. We have new science curriculum for our MS, equipment for our sport program, new fencing around our courts, new friendship program in the ES, etc.
Other New Things: This year we have created a new sports program that we are calling the “D League” which will make it possible for our 5th and 6th graders to develop their skills and play more games. We are also launching a new experiential learning program in the HS called “Impact Trips” which we will tell you more about in the coming weeks and months.
The list could go on with a number of other changes, but I will stop there. A lot of things are new around Dalat right now, but my hope for our new families is that very soon it will no longer feel like a “new” school but instead will feel like “home.”